GBS is a think tank for the application of critical, rational thinking to the intersection of science and ethics. It has taken a lead in initiating new projects in the areas of charity, politics and research, and collaborates with other international organizations that aim to reduce human and non-human suffering in the world. GBS is part of the growing effective altruism movement.More
Numerous scientists and philosophers support GBS in the academic board of advisors. The board participates in the public discourse on political topics through position papers.
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Zombies and Ghosts in the Philosophy of Mind
Introduction: What is physicalism? Physicalism is the view that consciousness is ultimately something physical, just like tables, democracies, and computer programs. What exactly does this mean? One way to make physicalism more graspable is by imagining a universe copying machine. We can insert a universe into the machine, specify which aspects of the universe we […]
The Ethics of Impact
When we hear the word “ethics”, we may think of the abstract musings of academic philosophers disconnected from the realities of our world, or the codes of conduct of multinational corporations eager to avoid excessive scrutiny. But when we consider how to ensure that our well-intentioned actions have meaningful impact, ethical reflections take on a […]
The Battle for Compassion
The Battle for Compassion is a film our advisor Jonathan Leighton produced on his book of the same name. Its clear message: Our civilization needs to get clearer on what its core values are, and should converge on prioritizing the prevention of horrible suffering, no matter where, when and in what sentient being it occurs.
Raising for Effective Giving
Raising for Effective Giving (REG) unites top poker-pros who want to maximize their positive impact on the world. They pledge 2% of their winnings – roughly 5% of their income – to provenly effective organisations. Scientific charity evaluators have shown that charities differ in their effectiveness by orders of magnitude, meaning that a given amount of money can save multiple times more lives when given to the right charities. As a meta-charity, REG promotes the idea of effective giving in the poker community and beyond.More
Sentience Politics (Sentience) intends to make politics for all sentient beings. “Sentience” is the ability to have feelings and conscious experiences, especially sensations of pain and happiness, suffering and joy. Besides humans, many non-human animals are sentient too – as evidence from behavioral biology and neurobiology has shown. Sentience is the reason why we can benefit from rights, and why the absence of rights harms us. It is what unites all humans, which incidentally is not the case for e.g. higher cognitive abilities, which therefore make up a bad foundation for basic rights. Sentience Politics launches political initiatives to increase the availability of plant-based food options.More
Effective Altruism Switzerland
The association Effective Altruism Switzerland (EACH) provides a network from and for people who intend to use their professional careers in order to make the largest positive difference to the world. The ethics of career choice is a young and comparably neglected academic domain: During our life, we work for 80,000 hours on average – which is why it pays to approach career-related decisions very systematically. EACH makes use of evidence-based approaches to figure out the most promising strategies. The concept “earning to give” is one such strategy: Instead of working for an effective NGO yourself, occupying a position that would have existed anyway, one can e.g. try to shoot for a high income elsewhere in order to then, through large donations, finance several NGO-positions that would not have existed otherwise.More